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Ferrari open to engine rule change


Ferrari boss, Frederic Vasseur admits to supporting Christian Horner's calls for a rethink of the 2026 engine regulations.

Sadly, Red Bull's expansion into powertrains has given a whole new reason for Christian Horner and Toto Wolff to continue their somewhat tiresome spats.

The Briton has expressed concern over the plan to place more emphasis on the MGU-K, following the ban on the MGU-H, in order to have a 50-50 split between combustion and electrical power, which would hopefully help 'further' level the playing field.

Wolff immediately hit back at Horner, claiming that his concern was simply because Red Bull's powertrains division is not prepared, a claim that the Briton vehemently denied.

Horner's concern is that the shift to a direct 50-50 split is excessive.

"We are in a position where obviously we're dealing with a power unit now as well as the chassis for '26," he said, "and I think that one of the big issues, and one of the big impacts for 2026 is weight. You're looking at pretty much a 30 kilogram swing on cars are already approaching sports car type of weight through the cooling that's going to be required and so on.

"I think we need to pay urgent attention to the ratio between combustion power and electrical power to ensure that we're not creating a technical Frankenstein which will require the chassis to compensate to such a degree - with movable aero and to reduce the drag - to such a level that the racing will be affected. That there will be no tow effect, there will be no DRS because effectively you're running at that at all points in time. And that the characteristics of these engines are just not... the combustion engine just doesn't become a generator to recharge a battery.

"I think that could easily be addressed with just tuning the ratio between combustion and electrical power," he added. "And because the engine regulations... we still have two and a half years, and I think if there is a slight redress it would then create potentially a better platform for the chassis, because otherwise the chassis regs that are undefined yet and uncommitted, we're going to be trying to cater for those compromises, so I think you've got to look at the thing holistically from both a technical point of view but the most important thing is: what is Formula 1? Formula 1 needs to be wheel-to-wheel racing. We can't afford to lose that challenge of drivers downshifting on straights to regenerate batteries. So I know the FIA are taking it very seriously, and they're looking at it very closely as the simulations become more advanced."

Following some early simulation runs, Max Verstappen agrees.

"To me, it looks pretty terrible," said the Dutchman. "If you go flat out on the straight at Monza, and I don't know what it is, like four or five hundred metres before the end of the straight, you have to downshift flat out because that's faster. I think that's not the way forward."

"I think the most important thing is to agree on what could be the speed trace," says Vasseur. "Then if we worry about the fact that we would have to lift off early or to so-and-so... to change something marginally we can change something."

Asked if it is too late to be making changes, given the fact that the rules have already been agreed and are what have attracted the likes of Audi to the sport, he said: "No, we have time to fine-tune.

"It's not a game changer into the development of the engine," he added. "It's early enough to make a small change.

"The impact on the speed of plus or minus 5% of energy coming from the ICE is mega. But we don't need to come back to 20%," he said, referring to the current rules.

"It is very difficult to have a clear picture, it's just full of assumptions," he continued, insisting that the priority is establishing key parameters "and then what we have to change to try to improve the show, not to start in the opposite way, to complain before to do the exercise".

"We don't know about the size of the tyres," he said. "We don't know about the grip of the tyres. We don't know about the level of downforce. We don't know about the level of drag. We don't know how much DRS...

"We don't know. And we are making speed traces when we don't know. It's why we have to sit down together to try to show that this one is right, this one is wrong, and to try to build up something together. I want to be optimistic."

The fear is that under the proposed rules cars will be unable to recharge the battery sufficiently to maintain consistent deployment over the course of a lap. One suggestion has been to have the 2026 engine harvest energy from both the front and rear axles.

"You have positives and negatives," said Vasseur, "the main complaint from the paddock is the weight of the car. If you start to have energy recovery on the front axle with the driveshaft and so on, you are adding 30kg on the car minimum.

"We have to try to stay positive and constructive and to fine-tune the solution, more than to be negative," he added. "It's always easy to say, 'OK, it would be much better to do this'. But if you don't have a look at the negative effect, for sure it's much better. The main issue for me today is the weight of the car. For the show, to damage the tyres, and for the speed."

Horner has suggested that sustainable fuels will negate the percentage of power required from the electrical side of the power units.

"It's a discussion that the big bosses of the OEMs had one year ago or two years ago in Monza," said Vasseur. "We are following the paths of the industry. They are going more and more on the hybrid with high level of electricity and we are taking this direction."


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1. Posted by didaho, 20/07/2023 2:25

"Plenty of cars have clipped over plenty of years on the fastest, longest straights.
Get on with it Dinosaurs."

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2. Posted by Fambank, 16/07/2023 9:04

"Toto REALLY needs to let go of 2021, and not try to say always the opposite of what
Horner says. The Mercedes car has been a shitshow this and last season and with
the costcap in mind, I donīt see any big improvements for them for '24 and '25.
To start off with the engine regulations on the wrong foot, may very well not work for
you Toto. Be carefull what you wish for."

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3. Posted by Endre, 15/07/2023 16:28

"I really hope common sense will prevail and Toto's BS will be ignored. There are now 2 teams concerned and I have read independent reviews as well based energy calculations that reach the same conclusion. There is a very good video on this on youtube as well that you can find searching for 2026 f1 engine regulations. It would be a shame to destroy the next era because of green washing, stubbornness and stupidity."

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4. Posted by elsiebc, 15/07/2023 15:40

"I yearn for an open formula race series."

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